Mars Hills Bible School students go magnet fishing to improve river water quality


FLORENCE, Ala. — Students at Mars Hill Bible School went on a unique fishing trip this week, but they weren’t looking for bass.

The group took a trip to McFarland Park in Florence to go magnet fishing. It’s just like it sounds—the students were throwing a powerful magnet into the water tied to a rope to help remove metal waste.

The trip was part of a series of water quality improvement projects funded by a TVA STEM classroom grant. Under the name, Panthers on the Tennessee, students study and improve the water quality of the Tennessee River from Wilson Dam to McFarland Park. Throughout the semester, elementary students focused on the collection and study of data. Middle and high school students utilized the data results to create and implement plans for the protection and improvement of water quality.

Technology classes built the magnet fishing devices to help clean up hooks, discarded lures, and trash. Biology and physical science classes studied and developed a floating bird/fish habitat and researched their effects on air and water quality. The semester-long project will conclude with a river cleanup day.

The school said the competitive STEM classroom grant program, operated in partnership with Battelle Education, received more than 600 grant applications from across TVA’s seven state service territory.

“This has really driven us to think outside the box as far as education goes and teaching and get more ideas flowing so that we can apply for more and hopefully be able to come up with more ideas like this to give back,” science teacher Mollie Mitchell said.

Mitchell added the grant was only for this school year but she looks forward to applying for another in the future.

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